#OttawaInc: QuickSilk

Posted in Trade Missions
Apr 2, 2015

Founder: Garry Brownrigg
EST: 2001
Website: quicksilk.com
From the company:  QuickSilk is a global provider of enterprise grade, SaaS, Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions.

Garry Brownrigg has no problem holding back his excitement over the launch of QuickSilk.  The product essentially allows anyone to design their own multi-functional website; zero-coding skills required. Forget Java or HTML. Everything is drag and drop. Brownrigg says QuickSilk builds websites up to 90% faster than traditional tools and reduces maintenance costs by up to 75%.  The product is currently used in more than 22 countries and has landed some impressive clients including the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer of Canada and the World Bank. Now the company has launched an INDIEGOGO campaign to help fund new R&D.

Finding easier ways to communicate has been something of a personal journey for Brownrigg. Twenty years ago he was a rising star in the financial industry, when suddenly he completely lost the ability to speak. He was diagnosed with Laryngeal Dystonia, a rare neuro-muscular disorder. Doctors weren’t sure he would ever talk again. Brownrigg looking for new ways to use his talents, taught himself to code. And for twenty plus years, he has been involved in designing websites and web applications for clients.

Today after much therapy and hard work, Brownrigg has not only rejuvenated his voice but also the way in which websites are built.

How do you think your personal challenges led you to cracking the “Holy Grail” for easy to design websites? Is there a correlation between the two?

(Laughs) I’m not sure if we have cracked the Holy Grail but we definitely have developed a solution that all of our clients are saying  is disruptive. You can build your website in hours, without having to be a developer.

Did you have a catalyst moment, where you realized the need for such a product?

I had hundreds of clients using different open-software management systems (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla), using different commercial applications, using different .net frameworks, etc.. Every client was experiencing the same issue. They couldn’t build it (the website) themselves, they couldn’t manage it themselves and they found it overly complex; and their open source solutions were constantly being hacked or compromised. So for me QuickSilk was born out of a frustration to find a better solution for my clients.

Because you’re spending so much of your time putting on band aids….

Correct, because if you look at the opens source community, you have the framework that’s developed by the community itself and you have the plug-ins that are typically built by third parties (with varying quality). So you constantly have the frustration of having to explain to clients that these sorts of things were out of our control. With QuickSilk we created a solution were we can control this entire environment of uncertainty and frustration  for the client.

What company do you see using your product?

Our target market is the small and medium sized enterprises. Our target distributors are the digital agencies; so marketing agencies, social agencies, design agencies. Also the software has been built so that we can work with a single entrepreneur, for example we have a small business client that is a naturopath, as well as large international financial institutions like the World Bank.

I would say there are some emerging players in your space. Squarespace has launched a new version, local start up PageCloud, the Grid…..and there may be more. How are you going to….

It’s Exciting! It’s great because if you look at the market it’s growing at about 15% a year. So there is lots of space, and lots of ability for all these different companies to get into the market, without having to eat each other’s lunch.

Why do you say that?

Well when we meet with potential clients we are not seeing any form of resistance. What we see is that customers have been looking for solutions where they don’t have to be developers. A solution that allows programmers and developers to focus on “higher-value” work or products. And we’re seeing designers who have the ability to actually become developers themselves in terms of building out a website. So I’m seeing a lot more high functionality website development tools being adopted.

It’s taken a decade of work to get to this point, how do you feel about it?

It’s gratifying to know that something that was envisioned ten years ago, is receiving huge acceptance from clients. We’re walking in and doing a presentation for the first time and people are signing up on the spot.

Is it almost like a child, you’re almost afraid to let it go?

Ha! No. If anything I’m trying to push it out the door!

Number one thing to never underestimate:

“The amount of financing that you’re going to require. Because it will be multiples of what you were  expecting. When you start to actually work on things, new technologies will come along, new opportunities will come along and new client projects will come along. You’ll get diverted, you’ll make adjustments and improvements in the software; the process you go through ends up burning more cash than you think. “

Garry Brownrigg, CEO of QuickSilk

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